Radeons 5870 + 6870 + MP 2010: Successes and Failures

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by slughead, Feb 13, 2012.

  1. slughead, Feb 13, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2012

    slughead macrumors 68040


    Apr 28, 2004
    Well after much hullabaloo, I finally got my 6870 working on my new mac pro.

    I kept asking the same questions on here and Netkas and for the most part they were going unanswered so I just bit the bullet and installed the thing.

    First off, I have this XFX 1GB 6870 card, the stock Apple 5870, and a brand new 3.33ghz hex-core (still has the new comp smell... oh yeah.) I'm also using OS X 10.7.3 at the moment.

    So here are my own issues, questions and answers

    Crossfire? / Why do this?

    Okay not my question but I think others might be thinking that's why I posted this thread: NO, crossfire wont work between the 5870 and 6870. This thread is just about adding a 6870 JUST for ****s and giggles. Or, in my case, more monitors and preservation of Audio over HDMI--long story short, you can't have 2 monitors + HDMI w/Audio out of the 5870 because there are no Active MDP to HDMI adapters according to my Google-Fu.

    Do I need to flash the 6870?

    Yes. As Rominator (?) predicted in one of his posts on the Netkas forum, having a flashed ATI and an unflashed ATI seems to have issues. Mine kernel panicked not far into my first test run using just VLC. Since flashing, few problems have occurred (see below).

    Any weird bugs?

    I just did a test run with VLC, Silverlight, and DVD player all playing on the 6870 monitor at the same time and it did great, EXCEPT: Silverlight (Netflix) only works in Safari now. I tried doing a complete reinstall of silverlight using this method and I still get this error in chrome and firefox.

    UPDATE: Well I rebooted and Netflix works in Chrome and Firefox now... just not in Safari... I wonder if there's a reason for this. UPDATE2: RE-Reboot now we're back to Safari again LOL.

    Another bug: I have my background to change every 5 minutes, on some reboots, when it fades to another background it has some weird tearing. It's usually associated with Silverlight *working* in Chrome. On instantiations like the one I'm in at the moment, Silverlight works in Safari and there's no tearing.

    Audio over HDMI with the 6870?

    I've asked this question a thousand times and nobody has answered. I PM'd Rominator on Netkas and he hasn't answered :(

    Unfortunately, it looks like the 6870 does NOT do audio over HDMI, even when the video is working fine. Several users have reported that Audio over MDP doesn't work either but I haven't tried it. There's a way to do it through ATY_Init but I'm not interested in trying it at this time.

    How To Flash 6870?

    I flashed on my old Mac Pro 2006 just because it was easier to access. Different brands have different ways of flashing. The one I ended up settling is the most foolproof but least user-friendly.

    With my XFX I tried several methods which failed before finding the most annoying one possible (no Mac GUIs :(). First off, Zeus didn't work. At all.

    1. I used ATI Winflash to get the PC ROM (though I'm sure the dos-based ATI flash would've worked too). The OS X GUI produced a faulty ROM which ATI Winflash hated.
    2. Zeus wouldn't add the EFI to my ROM. I had to modify and run the script/instructions on the netkas website using this method--my "blocknum" was 128, apparently.
    3. Zeus failed to flash my card, I used ATI Winflash for this.

    UPDATE: Supposedly the latest version of Zeus (2.8)--the one I used--doesn't work with the 6000 series, instead cindori recommends Zeus 2.3. I know other people have flashed their 6870's with Zeus, all I'm saying is 2.8 didn't work for me for either modifying the ROM to EFI or flashing the card. I never said Zeus "doesn't work", I've read numerous reports saying it does, I just had bad luck on my attempt and I can only attest to that. Different cards have different requirements for flashing. The one with the most consistent results is the one I chose, but it has many steps.

    UPDATE: unplugged all but the lower DVI port in both my video cards and the bootscreen on the 6870 came up fine. Someday later I might consider doing 6870 Crossfire (I have a 6870 Sapphire in my 2006 MP) and I'll report on it then.

    How do you power it?

    I have a second, 350watt PSU with a relay hooked up. I'll post pics and schematics when I have the time. Here's the gist:

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    [​IMG] [​IMG]




  2. BigJohno macrumors 65816

    Jan 1, 2007
    San Francisco
    Thank you for the write up! Just a quick question. Are you splitting the PCI-e power to the two cards or do you have a second PSU?
  3. slughead, Feb 13, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2012

    slughead thread starter macrumors 68040


    Apr 28, 2004
    I have a 2nd, external PSU, unfortunately. I'm able to easily hide it behind my desk, but it seems rather silly that a $3000+ computer bought in 2012 can't even drive 2 video cards when a $1000 homebuilt can.

    I considered a drive-bay secondary supply like this one but I chose to modify an old Antec 350watt PSU I had laying around instead. I added a relay to it and rigged it to be triggered by the Mac Pro's optical drive bay power (ahh the things we do to preserve AppleCare). Sure, it cost me 4 hours of my life, but at least it saved me $90!

    edit: see OP for pics
  4. wa5655 macrumors member

    Jun 12, 2010
    Are you using MDP or DVI for your 6870? Why would slot # matters--to get boot screen? My understanding is with DVI (upper), you will see boot screen. Not any other connections.
  5. slughead thread starter macrumors 68040


    Apr 28, 2004
    I thought it was the lower, I might try the upper later.
  6. slughead thread starter macrumors 68040


    Apr 28, 2004
    The upper DVI port doesn't work at all, even once booted. I'm confident the boot screen will work if I had the card in slot 1 and only 1 monitor ( I have 3)
  7. MacVidCards Suspended

    Nov 17, 2008
    Hollywood, CA
    which slot the card is in has nothing to do with anything

    You will see boot screen if the lower DVI is only one used

    There are other ways to use DP to make DVI see the boot screen but easiest is to just have lower DVI be the only one connected
  8. AllanH, Feb 18, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2012

    AllanH macrumors newbie

    Jul 16, 2008
    i dont get it, I have a monitor in the lower dvi & 1 in the minidp.
    Im seeing the bootscreen fine. (the cards are flashed ofc).
    Even in pc world the upper dvi is shared with the hdmi. Its one or the other. So flashed, the hdmi becomes favored and the dvi shuts. This in anycase is what happens with the 2 xfx im runnin.

    p.s. zeus 2.3 should flash those cards just fine. You prolly only tried 2.8 , but ok ...i do personally also flash in dos.
  9. slughead thread starter macrumors 68040


    Apr 28, 2004
    It has to do with which display port is polled first. I got the boot screen to display, but I had to disconnect ALL monitors from the card in slot1 first.

    I gave 2.8 a shot, it threw an error, I used winflash instead. zeus2.3 might work, ATI WinFlash definitely worked.
  10. MacVidCards Suspended

    Nov 17, 2008
    Hollywood, CA
    This is just going to confuse most people.

    For most people just using a single 6870, the boot screen will appear if they connect a DVI display to lower DVI port.

    If they use a MDP to DVI adapter at same time to another DVI, it will likely cause a dark display.

    If you use TRUE DP or MDP displays, they won't kill the boot screen on DVI.
  11. Cindori macrumors 68040


    Jan 17, 2008
    just to clear this up:
    i broke something in zeus 2.8 regarding 6000 support, but it works in the initial "test" version of 2.3 that can only be found here:

  12. AllanH macrumors newbie

    Jul 16, 2008
    ive got that and still get the boot screen just fine off the lower dvi. Also i (just for testing) reflashed my card with zeus 2.3 four (yes 4 times) and it worked fine.
    But aye just confirming my side.

    Its a pity to say things dont work (in bold) (im speaking of zeus in this case) when infact for Many other people, they Do work.

    edited for idioticy

Share This Page